SENATOR Richard Gordon, who initiated the investigation, motu proprio, on the delayed provision of healthcare workers’ (HCW) benefits, said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Budget and Management to process and release their paybacks in 10 days is a significant development to the ongoing probe of the Blue Ribbon Committee on the issue.
“We welcome the President’s order and we are glad that finally, our hardworking healthcare workers will get their additional pay and benefits that have been long overdue,” he said.
Duterte announced the directive during his pre-recorded public address aired Saturday morning, where he ordered Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to use all money available in the agency to pay the HCW, both in public and private health institutions, as well as the volunteers.
It came three days following the Blue Ribbon’s investigation that heard the health workers’ plights during the pandemic.
“We have been fighting for our healthcare workers’ welfare for so long as we recognize their role as very important to public health especially during the health crisis that we are currently dealing with. This is a very significant development to our investigation and we will not stop until the other issues concerning our health workers are resolved,” Gordon stated.
On August 18, the Blue Ribbon, chaired by Gordon, started its investigation on the delayed provision of the HCWs’ benefits, such as the active hazard duty pay and special risk allowance.
The probe was triggered by the Commission on Audit’s report on the DOH’s alleged mishandling of the P67 billion worth of COVID funds, and following several complaints from the health workers and the resignation of a big number of nurses.
“By providing our nurses with just salaries and benefits, we are not just giving them justice, but our people in need of better health care, as well,” Gordon concluded.